A Girl in the City is a shallow, disappointing, but mercifully short experience.
It’s been a year since Laura graduated from school, in the hopes of making it big as a journalist in New York City. Opportunities are hard to come by however, so she finds herself passing the months working odd jobs. In A Girl in the City, you’ll play as Laura through a very haphazardly thrown together storyline, as you attempt to help her achieve her ultimate dream of being an award-winning journalist. This is one case where a game’s short length might actually be a positive, though, as I doubt you’d want to play for any longer than you have to.
Laura’s journey begins as she starts working at a pizza parlor. You’re thrown from the position of janitor to delivery girl, before getting into a car accident. Laura is then hired as a grocery store clerk, and a fashion boutique sales girl, the former of which sees Laura being approached by an old classmate who gets her a job at a respectable fashion magazine. Throw in a perverted doctor, a male friend that seems to be everywhere Laura is, and other characters that are entirely shallow, and you have the bulk of the story here. Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t really make any sense either.
A Girl in the City is, as its most basic, a hidden object game, but you’ll only be able to see a portion of your item list (three or four items) in each scene at one time. You’ll still be forced to find other items, but you’re stuck finding these three or four items first before moving on. Not that items are hard to find, as the environments themselves are static, painted drawings that simply have all of the hidden objects thrown onto them, as though a tornado has swept through the entirety of New York City, leaving trash everywhere but keeping the furniture arrangements intact. As you play, environments will become cleaner and cleaner, until only one or two items remain, lessening the challenge there.
In between hidden object scenes, you’ll be faced with a series of light, repetitive puzzles. There are only a handful of puzzles types here – tile rotation or swapping puzzles, symbol matching puzzles, and those puzzles that have you rearranging items in order to create an opening to remove something from the board. All but two of these puzzles can be solved in a matter of seconds, but if you’d like to skip a puzzle, you can do so after waiting up to three minutes for the Skip button to recharge.
Time becomes a factor in one of the two gameplay modes available, as (in the Timed mode) you are only given a certain amount of time to find all of the items in a particular scene, and you’ll have to restart the entire scene if you fail. The regular gameplay mode allows you to play through at your own pace. Either way, the average player should be able to finish A Girl in the City in just over an hour. While the storyline here is downright dreadful, I can see most users pushing through just for the absurdity of it.
While A Girl in the City tries to take on a feeling of the television series Sex and the City, where Laura is Carrie Bradshaw, it fails pretty miserably at that task. This isn’t a case where the premise itself is flawed, but rather one where the story is so rushed that is lacks almost entirely in continuity and becomes unintentionally hilarious. Why Laura has to play house-keeper all over New York City (including Central Park and supposedly fancy restaurants) is never explained, and the story’s ending is so sudden that you’ll be playing a hidden object scene one second, and will be back at the main menu that next, scratching your head as to what just happened.
With a length that can easily be finished in the game’s free trial time limit (if you use a few hints or puzzle skips), this is definitely one to try, rather than buy, but really should be avoided altogether.